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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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Default table saw fence dilemma

I'm sure you guys have heard this question before - I searched the forum to try and find som answers before posting, but didn't come up with much, so here goes:

I have a cheap table saw. I don't know the exact model, but it's a Craftsman bench-top style saw that sits on a very simple four-legged stand, very basic. I bought it used off of Craigslist and paid $85 for it. From what I can tell, it seems to be a decent enough tool as these things go, but, like most inexpensive saws, the rip fence is beyond abysmal in quality. It is basically useless.

The obvious solution to this problem is an aftermarket rip fence system. However, all of the ones I've seen online start at around $300, over 3 times what I paid for my saw.

There are tons of videos on YouTube, etc., that show how to build your own rip fence, but they all involve working with metal, but I don't weld or do anything like that, so I can't really go that route.

So here are my questions:

1. Is there some kind of "middle ground" here that I haven't found yet, like a decent aftermarket fence system that doesn't cost so much as to make it ridiculous to put it on a cheap saw?

2. If I did decide I could spend up to $300 to solve this problem, should I go for a good aftermarket fence or maybe look at a better saw that comes with a decent fence (if such a thing could be had for $300 or less)?

3. Are there any other solutions here that I haven't thought of?

Thanks so much for your help.

Bryan

Last edited by woodpig; 02-09-2015 at 09:34 AM.
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 09:38 AM
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Chances are if you upgrade your saw,especially to a older quality cabinet saw like a unisaw,you will not be happy with the fence it has.If you go the route of upgrading your fence now,and try a few until you find exactlywhat you want,stash the old fence away so when it's time to move on to a cabinet saw you can keep your quality fence and sell the craftsman with its original fence.
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 09:39 AM
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Default Swing for the Fence

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodpig View Post
I'm sure you guys have heard this question before - I searched the forum to try and find som answers before posting, but didn't come up with much, so here goes:

I have a cheap table saw. I don't know the exact model, but it's a Craftsman home shop/contractor style saw, very basic. I bought it used off of Craigslist and paid $85 for it. From what I can tell, it seems to be a decent enough tool as these things go, but, like most inexpensive saws, the rip fence is beyond abysmal in quality. It is basically useless.

The obvious solution to this problem is an aftermarket rip fence system. However, all of the ones I've seen online start at around $300, over 3 times what I paid for my saw.

There are tons of videos on YouTube, etc., that show how to build your own rip fence, but they all involve working with metal, but I don't weld or do anything like that, so I can't really go that route.

So here are my questions:

1. Is there some kind of "middle ground" here that I haven't found yet, like a decent aftermarket fence system that doesn't cost so much as to make it ridiculous to put it on a cheap saw?

2. If I did decide I could spend up to $300 to solve this problem, should I go for a good aftermarket fence or maybe look at a better saw that comes with a decent fence (if such a thing could be had for $300 or less)?

3. Are there any other solutions here that I haven't thought of?

Thanks so much for your help.

Bryan

Bryan,
I don't think you'll find a decent saw with a good fence for $300. I would save until I could buy a good fence such as Beisemeyer and put it on the saw you have. Then, when you upgrade to a better saw, you can move the good fence to the new saw. That's not the way I did it, but it's what I would do if I could do it over. Others may disagree, but I think a good fence is an essential SAFETY item as well as increasing the accuracy and enjoyment of your woodworking. I think the fence is more important than the saw it sits on. I know $300 is a lot of money at this point in your hobby, but if this is something your are going to get serious about, it's a good investment.

ďWe should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again and that is well but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.Ē - Mark Twain
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 10:37 AM
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To bad you couldn't find a used Biesemeyer fence on the cheap . I've used saws worth much more than yours and there fences were still what I would consider a pita.
My 10" delta contractors saw had the Bies and it was built like a tank , love that fence .

I think I paid $800 for a 52" but the 30 is cheaper and we pay a premium for everything here in Canada so you may find one cheaper yet

Ok I was just looking on eBay and it's just above your budget . It says universal so you could do some research and see if it fits your saw . You'll love this fence


http://www.ebay.com/itm/Delta-BC30T2...-/281580532898

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Last edited by RainMan 2.0; 02-09-2015 at 10:42 AM.
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 10:46 AM
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This would be the deal of the century . You may have to drill a few new holes at the worst , not sure.
Hope you got a lot of room

https://for-sale.yakaz.com/used-bies...03edpm63t0l91m

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Ok ,I never insulate
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 10:52 AM
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Sorry Bryan , as I never noticed your saw was a bench top style . May look a little odd with a 52" fence ?
I'd hate to say it but if there's anyway possible I'd start from scratch . Nice if you could find a uses contractors saw with a Bies .
I have personally never found a middle of the ground fence system that's worth more than a paper weight

I donít always insulate , but when I do .
Ok ,I never insulate
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 11:04 AM
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I also missed it was a bench saw,was thinking it was a contractor saw,so I agree with Rick about starting from scratch,in that the saw may not merit ,or even accept a aftermarket fence.
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, thank you guys for the quick replies and good advice. I think I will start saving toward a Biesmeyer (or similar) fence. $300 is a lot of money for me at this point, but I have really only been thinking about it in the short term -- when I consider the point that all of you made about being able to keep the good fence long-term even if I sell the cheap saw, it makes a lot more sense. And, as DonkeyHody pointed out, it is a good investment if I intend to get serious about woodworking, which I do.
RainMan, I really wish I could take advantage of the great deal on that 52" Biesemeyer that you posted--I'm actually getting ready to build extension "wings" onto both sides of my saw deck next weekend, so a 52" fence would be just fine on there once that's done.
Thanks again for your help, guys - this is a great forum!
Bryan
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 11:25 AM
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Consider the shop fox standard fence at 275. It ships on many of the Grizzly table saws. I have one on mine and it is pretty good. Accurate, smooth movement and solid when locked. You might be able to find used. There's a recent review of it on a certain lumber jock site than gives it good marks. Lots of positive comments from other who have it as well. The reviewer put it on a 113 Craftsman TS which might well be close to yours.
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 02-09-2015, 11:57 AM
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In general you won't be able to purchase an aftermarket fence for your saw. The aftermarket fences are larger, industrial style fences made to fit on or over the dense extruded rails indicative of cabinet style or hybrid style table saws.

I recall that Matthias Wandel made a fence for his home-made saw. You might try something similar.

Homemade table saw build

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